Jimmie Johnson hits the inside wall after losing control of his car coming out of Turn 4 during the Clash at Daytona. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- When seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson lost control of his No. 48 Chevrolet in the final turn at Daytona Internationl Speedway, it raised eyebrows.
When he did it a second time, it raised concerns -- for everyone at Hendrick Motorsports.
Not only did Johnson spin twice in Turn 4 at the superspeedway during the Clash at Daytona on Sunday, but Hendrick teammates Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. had similar issues in the 2016 Daytona 500. Both of them crashed in that troublesome turn.
So what may have seemed like a one-year fluke is now a full-fledged trend for the four-car team.
And it has everyone at Hendrick on edge.
"It's a concern," said Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Elliott. "You know, I think the crash last year was indicative of some car performance things."
Gustafson said he didn't have the No. 24 Chevy set up perfect enough for Elliott to start last year's Daytona 500, and considering it was his first start in "The Great American Race," poor handling and inexperience were a bad combination.
"We have things in place to try to improve that, and we're very aware of it," Gustafson said. "We brought this car specifically for that reason and expected to take some hit (in speed) today. I'm really surprised we were able to run as well as we did today."
Elliott landed the Daytona 500 pole for the second straight year, just faster than Earnhardt.
And while all eyes will be on the teammates for the week leading into NASCAR's premier event, even more attention might be on getting those Turn 4 troubles straightend out.
"We're definitely aware of it and we're looking at our notes from over the years," Earnhardt said. "We dominated; I thought we ran great in 2015, so we'll look at what we did then and what we're doing now and sort of go through the process of elimination, and that's kind of what we've been doing until we fix it."
The biggest issue might be getting enough practice time, especially in large groups.
"We're going to practice as much as we can, but you've got to have guys out there, enough guys out there to kind of put yourself in enough situations to get the confidence in the balance of the car," Earnhardt said. "So I don't know if we'll really achieve that because people don't really practice that much for this race. They might, considering how the balance is changing with the track and stuff and it's getting a little slicker.
"But hopefully a lot of guys will practice. We'll get out there and practice. We're not worried about tearing our car up. We've got good cars, good backups. So we'll go out there and practice hard, try to figure out if we can help our balance."
More AP auto racing: www.racing.ap.org